Category Archives: cookbook

2017 Cook My Books Challenge: August

I Apparently August’s cookbook challenge was dominated by two of my favourite women: Ina Garten and Ellie Krieger. Both very different in their outlooks on food, but equally influential on me. Ellie for teaching me how to make minor tweaks to recipes to boost the nutrition without sacrificing flavour, while Ina was my guru for teaching me the importance of good quality ingredients and to never skimp on the good stuff! I’d say my approach to cooking is a good blend of both.

This month I made a few recipes from each. First up was pasta with escarole, white beans, and chicken sausage from Ellie Krieger’s cookbook The Food You Crave. I’m not really a huge fan of tomato sauce based pastas, so I love trying sauce-less pastas like this one. The garlic, sausage, and parmesan lend the perfect amount of flavour in this recipe!

sausage-bean-pasta

Next I got together with Andrea for one of our regular cooking nights. On the menu was an eggplant and feta salad, corn with parmesan basil butter, and this spring pea soup from Barefoot Contessa at Home. I’ve made this soup three times this summer, although this time was the first time I included the mint in the recipe. This is a super simple recipe and one of my favourite ways to use fresh sweet peas.

sweet-pea-soup

Another recipe I’ve made a few times this summer is Ellie Krieger’s zucchini bread from Comfort Food Fix. Ellie is the queen of adding nutrition to your baking without turning it into a dry, hard lump. Ellie makes her zucchini bread with half whole wheat pastry flour (although I use whole wheat pastry flour for all of the flour) and only half a cup of sugar, but it’s a huge hit with everyone I’ve served it to!

zucchini-bread

I’m not a big pork lover, but the herb-marinated pork loins from Back to Basics by Ina Garten sounded good enough to try. And it delivered, mostly! My problem wasn’t with the recipe itself, but with my slight adaptation. The recipe calls for grilling, but since I don’t have a BBQ I pan-seared the tenderloins and finished them off in the oven which didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Also I ran out of garlic and I think using the correct amount along with the correct cooking method would have made the recipe perfect!

Your turn! What cookbook recipes have you made lately?

Missed my previous Cook My Books Challenge posts? Catch up them below!

January
February
March
April
May
June
July

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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: July

It saddens me to write this post because it means that summer is halfway over. Wahhh I hate seeing my favourite season slip by without barely getting to live it. Although, that’s not really true. July has been busy in the best kind of way. Between a weekend with two weddings, hosting my boyfriend’s 30th birthday party, and a week up north at my second cousins’ (or are they second cousins once removed? We spent 10 minutes debating this and I still can’t remember what we decided) cottage, it’s been a good month.

And I managed to complete my cookbook challenge to boot. Starting with Aimée Wimbush-Bourque’s coconut cream baked oatmeal from her cookbook Brown Eggs & Jam Jars. The best way to describe this dish is like a coconut crème brûlée with oatmeal in it. So yeah, it was pretty frickin delicious. Although better without my addition of banana to the bowl, I discovered too late.

coconut-baked-oatmeal

The next week I tried the beach day tuna salad from Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte. It was basically the tuna salad I always make, but with the addition of raisins, parsley, and lemon juice. I liked the new flavours in it, although probably not enough to spend the time adding the three extra ingredients to it.

beach-day-tuna-salad

John’s mom is your typical Italian mama, showering us with love in the form of food. I’m so grateful to her for always sending John back home with a cooler of food for us. When we found a cauliflower in the cooler one week, John instantly requested (cough, demanded) his favourite buffalo cauliflower “wings”. Mine are good, although missing that crispy quality that I’m sure only deep-frying can achieve (something I’m not willing to delve into in my own kitchen, my anxiety conjuring up images of the full body burns that could ensue).

Anyways, I decided to try out a new method for making them from Made with Love by Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, former owners of a Lettuce Love Cafe and current owners of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe in my hometown. I liked the method for these a lot better, as they yielded a slightly crispier result. Although both John and I agreed that the sriracha sauce was a lot spicier than the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce that I typically use and a little too hot for our tastebuds to handle.

sriracha-cauliflower-wings

Being the overachiever that I am and not willing to settle for merely meeting my goal of making 3 recipes from my cookbooks per month, I squeezed in a fourth one. Right before leaving for the cottage the last week of the month, I whipped up Oh She Glows’ peanut butter cookie dough balls (subbing in almond butter of course) from her first cookbook, thinking we’d need snacks for the cottage. It wasn’t until after I made them that we went to the grocery store and bought enough food to feed 10 people for two weeks (let alone 6 people for 5 days) that I realized the addition of the cookie dough balls was probably unnecessary. However they did prove to be useful as a pre-breakfast snack to tide me over between waking up at 6 am and a family breakfast at 9 or 9:30 am.

Now your turn! How was your July? What cookbook recipes have you been loving?

Missed my previous Cook My Books Challenge posts? Check them out below!

January
February
March
April
May
June

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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: June

Can anyone believe I’m still going strong with my challenge? I sure as heck can’t. I never stick with anything this long! When I was 5 my parents signed me up for violin lessons, but I gave up after only a few months because I said that holding up the violin made my arms sore! Then when I was 14 I told my parents I was becoming vegetarian… which lasted all of two weeks. Even just last month I embarked on a quest to clean out my closet… which I gave up on after 1 hour. Needless to say I’m not good at toughing things out – I’m amazed I’m still blogging after 5 years, let alone still doing this challenge after 6 months.

But here I am, another delicious month later! Here’s what I cooked from my books in June:

Greens and Fontina Baked Eggs with Garlic Brown Butter Breadcrumbs from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

Words cannot even express how amazing this recipe is. Like omg. The combination of garlic, cheese, and brown butter is just utter perfection. It’s also incredibly easy to make, so it would be a great brunch recipe for guests. I know I’ll make this one again and again.

fontina-spinach-eggs-seriously-delish

Spinach and Ricotta Pappardelle from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque

I had to improvise with this one because my grocery store doesn’t sell pappardelle noodles, so I used a tip from my friend Patrick and cut some fresh lasagna sheets into strips. I think lasagna sheets are thicker than pappardelle though, and this pasta dish needed a more delicate noodle to go with the simple sauce. With real pappardelle and a heavy hand with the salt, this would be a nice easy weeknight dinner.

spinach-ricotta-pappardelle

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

I switched up this one slightly and used 1 part buckwheat flour to 2 parts whole wheat pastry flour instead of half of each because John doesn’t like an overpowering buckwheat taste. The 1:2 ratio was perfect. Buckwheat pancakes I’ve made in the past have been hit or miss, but these were a hit.

Incredible Smashed Peas and Broad Beans on Toast from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver

To be honest I’m not sure how I felt about this recipe. I like sweet peas in risotto and salads, and even in spring pea soup, but the mashed pea mixture was just a little too much pea flavour for my liking. Not even the parmesan and mint balanced it out for me, although the buffalo mozzarella helped – it better have for $3.50 worth of cheese per toast!

smashed-pea-toast-jamie-oliver

Magical “Ice Cream” Smoothie Bowl from Oh She Glows Everyday by Angela Liddon

This was so good and it actually did kind of taste like ice cream! Smoothies don’t always satisfy me, but this one was packed with good stuff like avocado and almond butter. I also use cow’s milk at home, so that’s what I used in this recipe instead of almond milk.  I always need something to chew with my smoothies though, so I topped it with some homemade granola and shredded coconut.

ice-cream-smoothie-bowl-oh-she-glows

What cookbook recipes did you make this month?

Missed my previous Cook My Books Challenge posts? Check them out below!

January
February
March
April
May

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